May 6th, 2008
10:05 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain makes pledge on conservative judges


Watch clips from John McCain's speech Tuesday.

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain moved to shore up his support among conservatives by pledging Tuesday to nominate strict-constructionist judges to the federal bench.

"It will fall to the next president to nominate hundreds of qualified men and women to the federal courts, and the choices we make will reach far into the future," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said during a speech at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

"My two prospective opponents and I have very different ideas about the nature and proper exercise of judicial power," he said, referring to Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. "We would nominate judges of a different kind, a different caliber, a different understanding of judicial authority and its limits."

Many conservative members are suspect of McCain on the issue of judges because of his involvement in 2006 in the so-called Senate "gang of 14." That bipartisan group of senators sought to reach a consensus on President Bush's judicial appointees, blocking some of the president's most conservative nominations while promising to confirm others.

The group formed after the then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened to remove the ability to filibuster judicial nominations after Democratic senators blocked a number of President Bush's nominees.

McCain also directly criticized Obama for not voting to confirm Justice Samuel Alito, saying the Illinois senator's justification of that decision sounded like it was written by an "activist judge."

"Apparently, nobody quite fits the bill except for an elite group of activist judges, lawyers, and law professors who think they know wisdom when they see it – and they see it only in each other," McCain said of Obama.

In response to McCain's speech, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said the Arizona senator has a "radical, right wing judicial philosophy."

"It's clear he's the wrong choice to safeguard that future," Dean also said. "No matter how far they have gone to restrict our fundamental rights or their clear records of gutting the reforms John McCain claims to care about, he has put loyalty to his party and a radical agenda ahead of the American people."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Ratgurl

    All the more reason not to vote for this guy.

    Remember "Keating Five."

    Google it, if you're not in the know.

    May 6, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |

    mcbush billary,bloody hands

    May 6, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. sophia nyc

    That headline is enough to scare any democrat away.

    Obama '08

    May 6, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. xtina

    We should install term limits on justices. Very few jobs have lifetime security, why should Congress and judges have it?

    May 6, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. Ben

    What in the world have I done to upset CNN? Twice I have tried to post and twice you have not even had the decency to give me a awaiting moderation. You gave some one after me an entire page of remarks and me?

    May 6, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. sophia nyc

    That headline is enough to scare any democrat away.

    May 6, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Johnn Des Plaines, IL

    Exactly why this guy must be sent to his retirement home, not to DC.

    May 6, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. tidho

    THIS issue is why Hillary needs to stop now.

    Obama has the delegate count locked up. He is electable (if logic, and not Hillary-hope is used to evaluate it) so they can't pull the plug on him.- that would be political suicide for the party.

    The judges are why the looser's contingent has to get behind the winner, especially 'if' Hillary looses. Her liberal female base would have to be idiots to allow a Republican to be in charge when two conservative SCJ's will likely need to be replaced.

    May 6, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. peter in PA

    Thank you old man and teleprompter reading McCain!

    This type of rhetoric is exactly what we Dems need. This will surely unite our party behind whoever wins the nomination.

    May 6, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Southern view

    What is McCain afraid of, that the Conservatives, or Neo-Cons is what they are if they're the reigning group, are going to crossover and vote for Barack Obama?

    McCain needs to stop pandering to the Neo-Cons and stick to his guns. It's his independent mindedness that makes him a contender. If he does not regain his ground, hold the high ground above the scroungers on the right and left, he will alienate the Independents and the Democrats that are going to win him this election, and he will lose. Read your own online poll. 40% of Democrats said they will vote for McCain if their candidate is not nominated. But that can change.

    May 6, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. ok

    It's on record Senator McCain. Will you change mind later?

    May 6, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA




    D I G N I T Y

    May 6, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. RUSHER


    May 6, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. jill american

    The general election is going to come down to California and Obama will lose California to McCain (just like he did to Hillary).

    May 6, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. Mightymouse

    One more reason why supporters of each Dem need to fall in line with their former opponent once this nomination process is over.

    May 6, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. roger

    I sure hope the dems win the presidency I don't think this nation needs any more right wing 18th century thinking judges like, Scalia, Alito, Roberts & Thomas. McCain can no longer be called a maverick he is pandering to the extremest of the republican party....

    May 6, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. Jamaal Kansas

    This guy is the worst he will try to appoint justices that don't believe in abortion John Mccain I don't care which democrats gets the nomination anymore becaused we can not have Mccain in there for Bush's third term My family could not take it,

    May 6, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. USAF Sr. Airman

    My problem with conservatives: abortion laws.

    I'm very much anti abortion, but I'm also pro choice. I don't approve of abortion one bit, but if we make it illegal, what will we have?

    Back alley abortions and dumpster babies.

    Oh, and Haley Rodman Clemson, you sound like you don't believe the Constitution is a living document, well too bad for you that it was designed to be so, huh? You know, if it wasn't amendable, blacks or women wouldn't be voting in these elections anyway.

    Get a clue.

    May 6, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. The Corp

    Say No to Obama and his band of radicals. And yes, I don't trust his skin color, especially after learning of the wackos he's surrounded himself with. God – Country – Corp!

    May 6, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Pat Riot

    While I don't entirely trust him McCain is starting to sound like a conservative. A conservative revolution could save this nation. We need to limit government spending, pay down our debt and decrease the size and scope of government at the federal level. A strict constitutionalist in the Supreme Court would ensure that people make decisions for themselves and run their own lives. Lets not forget that we pledged our allegiance to a Republic not to a huge federal government controlling your health care, energy and banking like the Democrats want.

    May 6, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Jamaal Kansas

    Vote Democrats Please I know I have been the one to say i would not vote for Hillary but the truth is i would vote for a dog if John mccain is the other choice. Democrats we Need to Unite if not Mccain will try to reinstate the Draft because he will need to substain the troops in Iraq and Afghanastan

    May 6, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. chris

    McCain is the perfect Republican candidate. Only a far left ideologue like Obama wouldn't vote for John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Obama would like to nominate left wing radicals like his wife (or their Hyde Park friends) to the Supreme Court. These people aren't progressives, they're neo-socialist revolutionaries.

    May 6, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Allen deLuca - Florida

    You are wrong, Dylan, to think of right wing-ers as reckless. What you need to fear is a government that knows nothing about the world the way it is and will try this and try that ("progressives"/liberals) until everything collapses. Conservatives are steady-on and rely on proven principles only.

    May 6, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. greg

    and this is why anyone who is supporting clinton and obama, must support whichever wins the nomination over mccain.

    i dont understand how any of their supporters can see mccain as a viable option.. he is not even close and those that say they will switch are the posers of the democratic party and do not really care about the issues that the party holds most dear..

    to anyone democrat who say they will vote for a man who will appoint conservative justices,, i say .. screw you for abandoning the issues over hurt feelings.. get over it,, its politics

    May 6, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. Robert NYC & Miami

    Hillary 2008!

    May 6, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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